CORRELATIVE PARTICLE ANALYSIS:
KNOW MORE SOONER
We combine various microscopy and spectroscopy methods to acquire harmful particles reliably. As such, along with reflected light microscopy, we use also SEM-EDX analysis and RAMAN & FT-IR spectroscopy. In this way we can clearly identify organic and inorganic particles in relation to material and the damage they can cause.
Your advantage: you receive detailed, comprehensive results for organic and inorganic particles.
In your test report you receive detailed information on:
- Quantity and size class: 5 µm
- Material classes & composition: metals, minerals, salts, organics
- Damage behaviour: hardness class, conductivity, magnetism
Metallic particles on components mostly stem directly from the manufacturing process. In the light microscope we classify these particles via the metallic sheen. If a particle is not detected and assigned correctly, the consequence can be far-reaching damage, above all in components critical to the function. As a rule, we therefore recommend a further analysis using the scanning electron microscope. With the aid of SEM-EDX analysis, we can classify particles reliably by identifying elements and then categorise them in a material class. This material composition is an important factor for defining the damage the particles can cause. In this way, the hardness of the material or its electrical conductivity can be determined, for instance.
In the images you can see our correlative workflow based on the example of a glossy metallic particle:
During the correlative particle analysis our specialists were able to identify it as a magnesium particle.
We verify non-metallic particles, e.g. plastics, using a light microscopic analysis. Plastic particles mostly stem from packaging residue and, as a rule, are soft particles. Nevertheless, they cause damage if they are large enough or numerous enough. Then they can clog filters or bores. Glass fibre reinforced plastics are even more critical because they can have an abrasive effect.
For this reason, we supplement the analysis with RAMAN or FT-IR spectroscopy. We compare the spectra measured with reference databases to identify the material.
In these images you can see how we identify a non-metallic particle as polypropylene in the correlative workflow.
Organic and inorganic fibres also play an important role in the qualification of the cleanliness of the component. These fibres include cotton fibres, synthetic fibres, hair and glass fibres.
With the aid of light microscopy, we can verify the presence of the fibres and measure them. For unambiguous identification of the material, we supplement the analysis also here with SEM-EDX analysis for inorganic fibres and with RAMAN or FT spectroscopy for organic fibres.
In the example in the image, we were able to identify the fibres detected as keratin by means of a RAMAN analysis.
Mineral particles are mostly residue from abrasives such as corundum or silicon carbide. They are also often residue from blasting material such as sand or glass beads with which the surfaces are processed. Mineral particles often have sharp edges, are hard or are electrically conductive – they have a high potential for serious damage to the components and the manufacturing process.
However, the small size and the weak contrast make it difficult to verify reliably the presence of the particles using light microscopy. For this reason, we recommend detailed particle analysis using SEM or RAMAN and FT-IR depending on the type of particle.
Via SEM-EDX analysis, our specialists were able to verify the presence of a sand particle in the example in the image; it was not possible to detect the particle using light microscopy.